Lets set the scene. I'm sat on the sofa with my body in flare mode, extremely pissed off as i'm going to have to have more time off work. The only answer get a Dirty Martini and watch some rugby!
Quickly my brain got to thinking about what I could do to improve things for myself and one was to really try and build my own jewellery business. Perhaps not everyone's first thought - My reasoning, flexible working, my hard work rewarding myself and hopefully more freedom once established. So I get my laptop, and after lots of chatting with my then house mates about the name I purchased a domain name and set up a basic website with 5 items on. My belief was once it was out there I would have to work on it. And so Rebekah Ann Jewellery was born. All thanks to my Autoimmune disease, Fat knees and a Dirty Martini (Yes lots of Dirty Martinis were consumed, some on the sofa and others in bed...) Not bad for a jeweller who's consultants have told her to find a new career!
So my consultants keep changing their minds on what my autoimmune disease is, for a number of years now they have been treating it as Rheumatoid Arthritis but on my last visit another arthritis was mentioned. Basically there's a lot of unanswered questions. They think its because of a genetic disorder I have, HLA-B27 but their not 100% sure. If I get ill, rundown or my body is just not happy I over produce white bloody cells and they collect on my joints or around my organs. Basically body starts to attack its self. There's a lot of trial and error with treatment but a big part is looking after myself mentally and physically.
Day to day I look as if nothing is wrong. When I do flare which touch wood hasn't been for a number of years now, my joints really swell, i'm unable to stand straight, walking is difficult and the pain is sickening at times. It effects my ankles, knees, lower back, fingers, hands and wrists, elbows and shoulders and can go to bed fine then wake up in a bit of a state. For me my knees are effected the worst. Flaring in a way is easy, largely because people can see the difficulties so understand but there are hidden issues, making it largely an invisible illness. The fatigue and pain at time can be to much. It can effect your internal organs and as a result of all of this your mental health.
Having said all this, I do feel strangely thankful for my disease, because of it I've done so many things and really pushed myself, thinking one day I may not be able to use my body so lets do as much as I can now. Thankfully this also appears to be helping the disease, strange how things can happen!